Wad Madani Resistance Committees has shared photos of ‘mass grave’, claims army did not heed villagers’ calls for help.

An attack by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on a village in central Sudan has killed “up to 100” people, according to local pro-democracy activists.

The Wad Madani Resistance Committees reported on social media late on Wednesday that the RSF, which has been at war with the regular army for more than a year, attacked the village of Wad al-Noura in Gezira state “in two waves”, deploying heavy artillery.

The committees shared photos of dozens of bodies wrapped for burial in what they described as a “mass grave” in the public square, claiming that the Sudanese army had not heeded a request for help. It said it was “waiting for a confirmed toll of the dead and injured”.

It was not possible to immediately verify the report.

The RSF has repeatedly laid siege to and attacked entire villages across Sudan, particularly in the agricultural state of Gezira, where it took control of the capital Wad Madani in December.

In a statement on Wednesday, the group said it had attacked army and allied militia bases around Wad al-Noura but did not acknowledge any civilian casualties.

But the Wad Madani Resistance Committees accused it of deadly attacks on civilians, looting and driving women and children to seek refuge in the nearby town of Managil.

The army-aligned Transitional Sovereign Council condemned the reported attack.

“These are criminal acts that reflect the systematic behaviour of these militias in targeting civilians,” it said in a statement.

‘Time running out’

Sudan’s civil war erupted in April 2023, when a rivalry between Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy and RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo exploded into an all-out conflict.

While much of the early fighting took place around the capital, Khartoum, it quickly spread to other parts of Sudan, including the southwestern state of Darfur where it quickly took an interethnic dimension as old rivalries linked to a previous war that began in 2003 resurfaced.

The RSF emerged out of what rebel groups call the Janjaweed, an Arab force which killed thousands of non-Arabs in Darfur during a war that ended with a peace deal in 2020.

The war over the past 14 months has killed tens of thousands of people, destroyed infrastructure and crippled Sudan’s economy.

Some 8.3 million people have been displaced, with many forced into neighbouring Chad and South Sudan, while hunger and starvation are spreading.

“Time is running out for millions of people in Sudan who are at imminent risk of famine, displaced from their lands, living under bombardments, and cut off from humanitarian assistance,” United Nations agencies warned in a joint statement last week.

The RSF has taken over most of western Sudan and is now seeking to advance into the centre of the country.

Meanwhile, there has been renewed fighting between the army and the western city of el-Fasher, with both sides using heavy weapons and artillery.

Claire Nicolet, head of emergency response in Sudan for Doctors Without Borders, said the conflict is having a catastrophic effect on the population.

“If the situation continues like this, there will be really a very high mortality – that is for sure,” she told Al Jazeera.

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